Childlessness: Demography and Children

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Even though 90 percent of the population wants to be parents, not all couples feel that way. Couples who choose to remain childless challenge the traditionally held belief that children are a natural and desired part of marriage. Recent studies have surveyed childless couples to determine their attitude toward children in their future. The Canadian Fertility Survey results showed that even though at the time of the survey 35.2 percent of women were childless, only 9.6 percent expected to remain childless (1993) (McGraw-Hill Ryerson 293). When discussing childlessness it is important to consider whether a couple remains childless by choice or naturally. The nuclear family includes a mother, father and their two beautiful children (one boy, one girl). This family is the perceived desired way of life in Western society, yet Canada had a declining birthrate (Fox 165). Is the nuclear family truly the ultimate family form? Historically if a couple could not have children they were pitied and had the option of adoption. If a couple chose not to have children they were marginalized as selfish and un-family-like (Veevers 14). The social slang term D.I.N.K.S., meaning double-income-no-kids, stemmed out of the emergence of a rise of childless couples in the 70s and 80s which was defined by woman moving into the workforce (Fox 154). A backlash against feminism arose; calling out that feminism was destroying the family, in protest to declining birthrates and increasing childlessness (Watkins). Nonetheless, the trend towards fewer children or no children forges ahead. For a variety of reasons – greater education and higher labour force participation for woman, effective birth control, and later marriage to name just a few- the fertility rate has been steadily declining over the past century. The total fertility rate per woman dropped from 3.5 children in 1921 to 1.5 in 1999 (Statistics Canada). In addition, more care not having children at all. The term voluntary...
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